Faced with their second chance to rebound from a painful road loss in front of a second consecutive sold-out home crowd, No. 19 Seton Hall takes on No. 11 Xavier at Prudential Center.
The only game between ranked opponents on a busy Saturday across the country, this match-up projects to be an exciting one with little separating the two teams.
All eyes will be upon Seton Hall’s response from an empty performance at Creighton in mid-week that was filled with drama when Kevin Willard benched Desi Rodriguez for the remainder of the game after the Pirates fell behind 20-4 just six minutes in.
Willard said of his small forward that “he had that look on his face where he just didn’t want to be out there”, which Rodriguez responded to on Twitter in a rather defiant fashion, in a tweet which has since been deleted.
The Tweet read: “Haha really funny , why wouldn’t I want to be out there battling with my guys I love these dudes they are my brothers , we will be just fine trust me”
This is the latest on the situation, with a tidbit that Ish Sanogo — who has played well of late — may start in place of Mike Nzei for the first time since mid-December at Rutgers.
Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard told me Desi Rodriguez practiced today, and will play Saturday against No. 11 Xavier. "He's always bounced back good when he's had a tough night, and I expect him to bounce back again." #shbb. Also said leaning towards starting Ismael Sanogo.
— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) January 19, 2018
Drama aside, Seton Hall and Xavier have played a handful of entertaining games over the past couple seasons, most notably the emotional 90-81 win over a top-five Muskies squad in 2016 which essentially clinched the first Pirates NCAA bid in a decade.
This one projects to be as good, should Seton Hall show up and defend their flawless 13-0 record at home dating back to a loss at the hands of Villanova last season.
Don’t just take my word for it.
Lets have a big turnout on Saturday I promise we won't disappoint 💯
— Dragonfly jones (@_17ish) January 18, 2018
Stat(s) to watch: Xavier has never won at Seton Hall; the Hall is 1-4 in the five worst offensive games that Angel Delgado has had this year; Ish Sanogo has accumulated 31 points and 22 rebounds over the last three games — it took him the previous eight games to score 31+ points, dating back to Louisville
Series history (since 1950): 9-5 SH
KenPom says: No. 33 Seton Hall 81, No. 16 Xavier 80
Projected Xavier starters
PG – Quentin Goodin
G – JP Macura
G/F – Trevon Bluiett
F – Naji Marshall
F – Kerem Kanter
Projected Seton Hall starters
PG – Khadeen Carrington
G – Myles Powell
F – Desi Rodriguez
F – Ish Sanogo
F – Angel Delgado
TV: 2:30et, FOX
Radio: AM970 / SIRIUS 108 / XM 201
Opening line: Seton Hall -1.5
Please use this post for all in-game and immediate post-game discussion.